Pat Metheny speaks with music at the National Auditorium in Madrid

By Sergio Ariza

Question and Answer is what one of Pat Metheny’s songs recites and that is precisely what the guitarist seems to do along with his wonderful drummer Antonio Sanchez for many parts of the concert, asking and answering almost telepathically, having a high flying musical conversation as though they were talking Einstein’s relativity theory.  

It’s not as if the other 2 excellent players, Malaysian bassist Linda May Han Oh, and British pianist Gwilym Simcock, don’t take part in this conversation, what happens is that Metheny and Sanchez give a lecture every time they do, and their questions and answers sound like musical alchemy, the kind that is made when 2 super gifted players have been playing together for so long and know each other to perfection. Their interaction was astounding and at times, the creator of the  soundtrack to the movie Birdman even stole the spotlight from Metheny. Of course it wasn’t about this but about getting  the other to shine more than you, which they hit out of the park. 

Metheny looked right at home and willing to win the hearts of the faithful, the show went on for 3 hours, and he played a great deal of his artistic career, using all his legendary guitars, from the mythic 42-string Pikasso, made just for him by luthier Linda Manzer, to his loyal Ibanez PM200-NT, and in between the Roland G-303 and the acoustic ‘85 Ovation 1663 Classic Cutaway with which he’s able to squeeze out strange distortions, and some momentary riffs ala funk. I must say I like him better on the Ibanez, because the Synthesizer sometimes outdoes itself with sounds more suited for the flute or keyboards than a guitar.     

There were also outstanding moments where he played alone on his guitar, as in the lovely reading of And I Love Her by the Beatles which was the second last song of the recital, the 3rd encore of the night. Yet, to round off the concert the entire group had to get back on stage, especially Sanchez who proved to be his best accessory, making this wonderful evening really special, despite the sound, strange as it is in the National Auditorium, not doing justice to the 4 great musicians on stage.